Bump in the night

Up by break of day at 5 o’clock, and down by water to Woolwich: in my way saw the yacht lately built by our virtuosoes (my Lord Brunkard and others, with the help of Commissioner Pett also) set out from Greenwich with the little Dutch bezan, to try for mastery; and before they got to Woolwich the Dutch beat them half-a-mile (and I hear this afternoon, that, in coming home, it got above three miles); which all our people are glad of.
Here I staid and mustered the yard and looked into the storehouses; and so walked all alone to Greenwich, and thence by water to Deptford, and there examined some stores, and did some of my own business in hastening my work there, and so walked to Redriffe, being by this time pretty weary and all in a sweat; took boat there for the Tower, which made me a little fearful, it being a cold, windy morning.
So to my lodgings and there rubbed myself clean, and so to Mr. Bland’s, the merchant, by invitation, I alone of all our company of this office; where I found all the officers of the Customs, very grave fine gentlemen, and I am very glad to know them; viz. — Sir Job Harvy, Sir John Wolstenholme, Sir John Jacob, Sir Nicholas Crisp, Sir John Harrison, and Sir John Shaw: very good company. And among other pretty discourse, some was of Sir Jerom Bowes, Embassador from Queene Elizabeth to the Emperor of Russia; who, because some of the noblemen there would go up the stairs to the Emperor before him, he would not go up till the Emperor had ordered those two men to be dragged down stairs, with their heads knocking upon every stair till they were killed. And when he was come up, they demanded his sword of him before he entered the room. He told them, if they would have his sword, they should have his boots too. And so caused his boots to be pulled off, and his night-gown and night-cap and slippers to be sent for; and made the Emperor stay till he could go in his night-dress, since he might not go as a soldier. And lastly, when the Emperor in contempt, to show his command of his subjects, did command one to leap from the window down and broke his neck in the sight of our Embassador, he replied that his mistress did set more by, and did make better use of the necks of her subjects but said that, to show what her subjects would do for her, he would, and did, fling down his gantlett before the Emperor; and challenged all the nobility there to take it up, in defence of the Emperor against his Queen: for which, at this very day, the name of Sir Jerom Bowes is famous and honoured there.
After dinner I came home and found Sir John Minnes come this day, and I went to him to Sir W. Batten’s, where it pleased me to see how jealous Sir Williams both are of my going down to Woolwich, &c., and doing my duty as I nowadays do, and of my dining with the Commission of the Customs.
So to my office, and there till 9 at night, and so to my lodgings to bed. I this day heard that Mr. Martin Noell is knighted by the King, which I much wonder at; but yet he is certainly a very useful man.

fear is an ambassador
knocking on every stair

nightgown and slippers
go as a soldier of the wind

up against this ill
wool of a night


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Friday 5 September 1662.

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